Cleveland stepping up to ‘Walk with me Tennessee’
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Oct 12, 2010 | 1122 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Cleveland is one of seven pilot communities for the new “Walk with me Tennessee” initiative designed to help cities become more pedestrian friendly.

The other cities are Athens, Clarksville, Collegedale, Jackson, Manchester and Sevierville.

“Walk with me Tennessee” is a self-assessment tool for cities and counties that focuses on a variety of quality-of-life aspects such as planning, health and fitness opportunities, infrastructure, connecting community areas and safety.

Community Development Director Greg Thomas said the city has emphasized alternative modes of transportation through the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan being formed through the Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“That’s something we are trying to build upon,” Thomas said.

Cleveland Parks and Recreation Director Patti Petitt said the initiative is for Three-Star communities. The self-assessment asked for greenway, pedestrian walking, capital improvement plans and ordinances and regulations concerning property development that requires sidewalks, such as the Safe Routes to School improvements on Wildwood Avenue and 20th Street to Blythe-Bower Elementary School locally.

Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke said, “The department’s Recreation Educational Services Division is striving to increase awareness of alternate transportation and lower the obesity percentage of our citizens. Presently, Tennessee is ranked second in the nation for obesity and the national obesity rate of children is increasing to a hazardous level. Combine the obesity statistics, cost of fuel and the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions — having a community with alternate transportation options is invaluable to all Tennesseans’ quality of life.”

The Division of Recreation Educational Services’ mission is to create and protect parks and open spaces that provide recreation opportunities and conservation education and is composed of three sections: Trails and Greenways Technical Assistance, Funding and Planning Resources and Land Management and GIS Resources.